[ ep-uh-fahyt ]
/ ˈɛp əˌfaɪt /

noun Botany.

a plant that grows above the ground, supported nonparasitically by another plant or object, and deriving its nutrients and water from rain, the air, dust, etc.; air plant; aerophyte.

Nearby words

  1. epiphysial line,
  2. epiphysial plate,
  3. epiphysiolysis,
  4. epiphysis,
  5. epiphysitis,
  6. epiphytotic,
  7. epipial,
  8. epiplo-,
  9. epiploic,
  10. epiploic appendix

Origin of epiphyte

First recorded in 1840–50; epi- + -phyte

Related formsep·i·phyt·ic [ep-uh-fit-ik] /ˌɛp əˈfɪt ɪk/, ep·i·phyt·i·cal, adjectiveep·i·phyt·i·cal·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for epiphytic

British Dictionary definitions for epiphytic


/ (ˈɛpɪˌfaɪt) /


a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic on it
Derived Formsepiphytic (ˌɛpɪˈfɪtɪk), epiphytal or epiphytical, adjectiveepiphytically, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for epiphytic



1816 (implied in epiphytous), from epi- "upon" + -phyte "plant."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for epiphytic


[ ĕpə-fīt′ ]

A plant that grows on another plant and depends on it for support but not food. Epiphytes get moisture and nutrients from the air or from small pools of water that collect on the host plant. Spanish moss and many orchids are epiphytes. Also called aerophyte air plant
Related formsepiphytic adjective (ĕp′ə-fĭtĭk)

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